AUG 30, 2016 8:40 AM PDT

Scientists Say the Observable Universe is Smaller Than We Thought

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

There is no disputing that the universe is huge. It’s infinitely expanding, and has been since the beginning of time, but scientists have recently come out of the wood work to say that the observable universe may be up to 0.7% smaller than we originally predicted.
 

The universe is constantly expanding in its own little bubble, but it may be smaller than once thought.

 
The paper has been accepted for review by the journal Advances in Astrophysics, although since it’s not published just yet, you’ll have to take Nick Tomasello’s explanation over on The Medium until then.
 
Tomasello is one of the lead scientists of the study, along with Paul Halpern, and both argue that they’ve been able to more accurately measure the size of the observable universe with new algorithms.
 
What was once considered to be 45.66 billion light years in size has now been reduced to 45.34 billion light years in size. On paper, the numbers don’t look like a significant change, but keeping mind that one light year is equivalent to about 5.89 trillion miles, that .32 billion is quite a long distance.
 
Measuring the universe is no easy task. Because of a thing called a “Particle Horizon,” we can’t actually see the edges of the universe. The Particle Horizon limits how far we’re able to see because at some point, particles can’t travel anymore and therefore we fail to see them or the light they emit.
 
What we do know is that the universe is shaped like a bubble and is expanding from the center in an infinite and dynamic way. Because it’s always expanding, it’s hard to place a perfect number on the size of the universe at one given time.
 
Another misconception is that we’re moving outwards with the universe, but a more realistic way to explain the expansion is the fabric of space time is stretching outwards in a way.
 
“Instead, it’s more like the fabric of space-time is stretching, with the result that the distance between every point in the cosmos is increasing,” Tomasello says. “You can picture this like the dots on an inflating basketball: as the ball gets bigger, the dots get further and further apart, although they retain their original orientation.”
 
It’s this very stretching that reportedly slow down the progress of space time as it expands, and is the reason that it was time to update the figure. As Tomasello explains, it’s like being on a train and walking in the opposite direction as the train is moving. Although you’re moving, you’re not really getting anywhere relative to the things outside the train because the train keeps setting you back. This compares to what’s known as “Cosmic Drag.”
 
With that drag in mind, it affects the expansion of the universe, and it suggests that the previous algorithms to measure the universe are dated and no longer sufficient. Newer algorithms could lead to more accurate figures.
 
Source: The Medium via Science Alert

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 24, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Asteroid May Collide With Earth in November
AUG 24, 2020
Asteroid May Collide With Earth in November
NASA has said that an asteroid known as 2018VP1 is heading towards Earth, and may potentially collide with our planet on ...
SEP 25, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Colossal Study for the Missing (Anti)Matter
SEP 25, 2020
Colossal Study for the Missing (Anti)Matter
Physicists believe that our observable universe exists in a mirrored configuration: any fundamental particle such as pro ...
NOV 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Never-Found-Before Molecule Detected in Titan's Atmosphere
NOV 02, 2020
Never-Found-Before Molecule Detected in Titan's Atmosphere
Astronomers have detected Cyclopropenylidene (C3H2) on Titan, one of Saturn's 53 confirmed moons. While the molecule ...
DEC 19, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Advanced Chemistry Module to Aid Future Mars Exploration
DEC 19, 2020
Advanced Chemistry Module to Aid Future Mars Exploration
Despite its resemblance to Earth, Mars, our planetary neighbor, is not exactly a friendly environment for human explorer ...
JAN 24, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
ALMA observations give insight into the formation of stars
JAN 24, 2021
ALMA observations give insight into the formation of stars
New research published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics gives new insight into the mystery behind how stars f ...
JAN 29, 2021
Space & Astronomy
The Potential Range of Mass of Dark Matter Narrows Dramatically
JAN 29, 2021
The Potential Range of Mass of Dark Matter Narrows Dramatically
The part of the universe that we can see, which includes our planet and stars, makes up only around a quarter of the mas ...
Loading Comments...